As soon as he stepped into the house, the aroma emanating from the kitchen almost knocked him off his feet. His wife seemed to be a little calmer of late yet he was finding it difficult to even say hello to her. He had to put up a front anytime Sammy was within earshot or with them. But he spent most of his time in his library pretending to be engulfed with work. Rebecca took it as a point of duty to get back home from work earlier than usual to prepare his meal and do some other house chores which she always took for granted before their big quarrel. She was in the kitchen preparing Ogbono soup when she heard the door squeal open. She ran to the corridor which was in between the living room and the kitchen and also served as the entrance to the house. He was already heading for the guest room when she stopped him.
Rebecca: “Darling welcome back, how was work today? I noticed how busy you were at work today” she said trying to pretend all was well between them.
Richard: “You did well by noticing. Thank you” He said nonchalantly.
Rebecca: “I am preparing your best meal of pounded yam with ogbono this time. Hope you will eat?”
Richard: “No thanks, I have eaten already. I am tired, can I go in now?”
Rebecca: “Hmmmmmm! Richard please it’s enough already. I think you’ve punished me enough?”
Richard: “I am not out to punish you”
Rebecca: “Then what are you doing? When was the last time you ate in this house? When was the last time you spoke to me like your life partner?”
Richard: “You have no right to ask me any questions right now after what you did to me…Can I go inside now?”
Rebecca: “I have apologized countless times for that day. It’s okay though but you should know I will not give up on us, for my children’s sake, I will keep fighting”
Richard: “What do you mean by for our children’s sake? We only have one child”
Rebecca: “Honey God has answered our prayer at last. I am pregnant, I am carrying your child again” she said moving closer to her dumbfounded husband.
Richard: “How? Why are you pregnant now of all times? Are you sure that baby is mine?”
Rebecca: “What is that supposed to mean?” she retorted angrily
Richard: “Well this is 21st century, we will find out when it’s time.” He said and started walking away from his wife who was rooted to a spot staring into thin air.
Rebecca: “I can’t believe you just said that Richie… I can’t believe it has gotten up to this”
Richard: “Yes it has! Who knows? It might be for one of your soldier boyfriends” he roared from the front of his room.
Rebecca: “Okay! Sammy’s class teacher wants to see us, though I told her we are a busy lot but we can always go during lunch break” she announced.
Richard: “Then you should go alone. I will be busy even during lunch break” he said sitting on the bed and pulling off his socks, then his shirt.
Rebecca: “But it’s Sammy we are talking about. Please for his sake?” she said swallowing hard at the sight of his bare chest as adrenaline rushed into her veins.
Richard: “Good! Good! Can you excuse me now? As you can see I am undressing” he said pulling his trousers remaining only his boxers.
Rebecca: “Uhm! Uhn! Okay! I will leave now” she said without bulging from where she stood ogling at his well-built body frame and the bulge inside his boxers. “Yeah sure I should excuse you right? Are you sure? “She said with a deep desire laden voice.
Richard: “Oh yeah!” he said smiling within himself, knowing the effects he was having on her.
Ophelia Ndukwe was a lady who loved her job more than anything. She was so beautiful that she could bag a modeling contract in Broadway without breaking a tiny drop of sweat. People took her for an half cast or a foreigner because of how fair she was. She had a height, gait and curves that made heads turn wherever she went. She had men at the tip of her fingers and had things easy for her. Her father was a Professor of History and International Studies in the University of Benin and was the only child of her parents. She sat facing Richard that noon in the secluded class during break time.
Ophelia: “Welcome Mr. Rotimi…Thanks for honoring my invitation sir but where is your wife? I thought you were coming together?”
Richard: “Something came up so she couldn’t make it. So why did you ask to see us? Hope there is no problem?”
Ophelia: “There is no problem just that I noticed something about Sammy lately”
Richard: “What happened? Is he doing something wrong?” he asked adjusting nervously on his seat.
Ophelia: “Not at all, just that he seems quite absent minded and withdrawn lately. He hardly plays with his friend any more neither does he pay attention in class. Please sir is something happening in your home that you think might be affecting him adversely?”
Richard: “Nothing I can think of. Maybe he is just in that phase of his life?”
Ophelia: “Are you sure? Just see me as a friend and talk to me okay? I am here to help and nothing more. I only want the welfare of my pupils, stuffs like this happen all the time and its mostly because of a problem the child is witnessing at home. So if there’s anything you feel I should know, please tell me”
Richard wriggled his hands like a little boy facing panel in school. He debated whether to tell the goddess sitting before him the problems he was going through in his marriage or not. He looked into her eyes and what he saw was as harmless as any dove could be so he decided to open up to her.
Richard: “Well…” he went ahead to tell her everything he and his wife were going through in their home. She was taken aback at how things could turn for the worse for two lovers out of the blues.
Ophelia: “Wow! Now I am more convinced in my opinion about marriage” she said more to herself than to Richard. “I will suggest you two work things out and please try to forgive her for your son’s sake. You don’t want to see him grow up a broken man who…” she was interrupted by the wailing of the bell. Break was over. “Okay break is over…we still have a lot to talk about so here’s my card, give me a call anytime you feel like, as a friend” she said extending her card to him, he collected it, dipped his hand in his hip pocket and brought out his wallet, took a card from it and handed it over to her too.
Richard: “Thanks a lot Miss, now I am convinced my son is in good hands. In case I forget to give you a call, don’t hesitate to remind me through the number there” he said gesturing to the card in her left hand.
Ophelia: “Oh sure!” she smiled as they shook hands. She watched as he hurriedly left the classroom checking his wrist watch over and over again. She could not help but feel sorry for him, the burden he is forced to carry around in the name of marriage made her heart sink with grieve. She was never a strong advocate of marriage, she once told her parents she’d rather have a child out of wedlock than be held captive in an unhappy marriage.
When she got home that evening after lesson periods, she met her mum and best friend Gloria discussing in their well-furnished sitting room. The house itself spoke volumes of its occupants and she loved showing it off to her friends.
Ophelia: “See who is here today, it’s the almighty newly wedded wife of Johnson. What brought you out of you crib today?” she said jovially, dropping her bag on the glass table and slumping down beside her friend, hugging her from behind.
Obiageli: “So it’s only your friend you see here right? I am not human you this ill-mannered girl” her mum feigned annoyance.
Ophelia: “I am sorry mum, I just got carried away seeing this lass here today. Good afternoon ma” she greeted her mum and walked over, placed a light kiss on her cheek and went back to her former position beside her friend.
Gloria: “Don’t mind her mum. She is just looking for a way to look for my trouble”
Ophelia: “let’s go to my room girl, we have a lot to catch up on” she said drawing her along with her.
Obiageli: “Glo please advise your friend to go and get married too o, abi what is all these wahala sef, for how long will I keep housing a fully grown woman?” she called after them.
Ophelia: “Don’t mind her jare, she just wouldn’t let me rest in this house. I am not interested in getting married or has marriage become a do or die affair?” she said to her friend after closing the door to her room to give them better privacy.
Gloria: “Mum is right girlfriend, you need to get married, and you will be twenty-eight years this year remember? Time and tide waits for no one, you are in your prime now but will not remain so forever”
Ophelia: “I have a gist for you jare, forget the issue of marriage, it’s not a topic I like to waste my time on” she said dismissively.
Gloria: “Yes madam? Let me hear this gist that is making you so excited”
Ophelia: “Now you are talking. But before then, I want to feel your lips on mine again, I have missed you so much baby. Abandoning me like that for some man is just uncool” she said moving towards her seductively.
Gloria: “Oh yeah! I have missed you too, you just won’t imagine how much I have missed your soft body” she replied breathing heavily, staring straight into her eyes…
…WATCH OUT FOR PART 4